Around the time of this posting, LMI is no longer accepting score submissions for the contest. Below is a link to the puzzle booklet, the same as the one on LMI without the password. There is also a PDF that has all of the puzzles on the test together with their solutions (don’t open if you don’t want to see them yet!), as well as some brief comments from myself about the puzzles. Mostly I pointed out the tricky innovative logic the puzzle had, if any — and for the adults there almost always was some.
Some thoughts on the test from my angle, coming from shortly after it is over and before seeing other comments: All in all, a lot like my first WPC performance. Passable and with its high points, but my inexperience clearly showed through in other areas.
Probably very few will disagree when I say I think it was too hard, both for casual solvers and for those gunning for top spots. This is pretty clear from the fact that the top scorer (congrats Psyho) finished 16 out of 20 puzzles, whereas most LMI tests are intended be finished by top contestants at least a few minutes early. Mine too, key word being intended in this case. I do realize that such an unexpected level of difficulty can really throw people off, especially for people used to finishing or at least getting close, so I apologize for this. It was not my goal to have no one come even close to a perfect score.
Suffice it to say this was mostly my fault. There were two rounds of testsolving, but in both cases the drafts sent out were way over the top, and I was probably a bit too stubborn about making the babies easy enough or eliminating some of the more ridiculous steps in the adults when revising. The final version is one in which motris, one of the three testers, would have probably finished with a little time to spare — it’s hard to say exactly because you can’t get genuine times from tweaked puzzles if you’ve done the original. This apparently was not an optimal standard to match up with, perhaps because motris is on fire these days and he’s also more familiar with my kinds of puzzles than a typical world-class competitor.
Also, I think the testsolver reports were the first time in these 1+ years that I ever heard how long someone else took to do a puzzle of mine, since previously I had only heard qualitative descriptions. So seeing their times was a slap in the face that I failed to completely react to.
Yet another thing that I probably did not give due consideration was the types themselves. There were no classic types on the test, and many of them were far from ordinary. The preview series probably alleviated that at least a bit, but of course not everyone would have had time to work through it all.
Still, it was experience for me. I’m not sure I would get the challenge level of a second competition perfect, but I think I would do a lot better. We’ll see, if it happens.
On subjects not related to difficulty, one issue was some of the answer extraction. Castle Wall and International Borders didn’t have the best mechanisms, although a good portion of mistakes made were almost certainly caused by messing up the puzzle somewhere as opposed to goofing the extraction. I’m not sure what Castle Wall’s mechanism should have been, but International Borders maybe should have asked for the number of black squares in each row instead, which is much more visually obvious.
Anyways, as I’ve said in several places, the puzzles on the test are my very best work, even if I did overdo the level of difficulty a bit, so I encourage you to work out any you didn’t get time to do this weekend. The highlights in my opinion:
- Alien 1 (Castle Wall) Adult
- Mutant 2 (Line Nurikabe) Adult
- Mutant 4 (Nonconsecutive Fillomino) Adult – my favorite by a long shot
- Hybrid 2 (Yajilin / Akari) Adult
(No babies in the list, I know. They’re not bad puzzles, but I don’t think any were standouts.)